Netherlands may test online voting for citizens abroad

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No image availableNL Times

The Netherlands may test digitizing some steps in the voting process for voters abroad in future elections. Hague mayor Pauline Krikke wants to adapt the election act so that voters living abroad can receive their voting card digitally, instead of by post. She wants the elections to be less dependent on other countries' postal systems, NOS reports.

"In some countries, it's no exception that a mail bag will lie in a post office for a few weeks", Krikke said. The Hague is in charge of arranging the elections for Dutch people abroad. 

During the parliamentary elections in March, many of the over 80 thousand Dutch voters abroad received their voting card too late for their vote to make it back to the Netherlands on time. In the weeks after the election, about 900 late votes arrived in The Hague. The D66 wanted to give an extra week for votes coming in from abroad, but a court decided this was unnecessary.

Currently only the ballot may be sent abroad digitally. The voting card is sent by post. Krikke believes it should be safe enough to send the voting card digitally, for example through a secure service like DigiD. According to her, this will save time and costs and is more reliable than foreign mail. The actual vote will still have to be sent back to the Netherlands as a physical paper in the mail.

In the past election, concerns about cyber attacks and hackers made the Netherlands even more distrustful of digital voting - to the point that the government decided that all votes must be counted by hand.